Less red tape to promote increased investment

first_img26 February 2014 South Africa is making a concerted effort to cut more red tape, both to enable businesses to increase their competitiveness and to promote increased foreign and local investment, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan told Parliament on Wednesday. Tabling his 2014 Budget in Parliament, Gordhan said that investment by both the public and private sectors was key to creating jobs and growth, adding that the government was committed to providing policy certainty and a sound investment environment for domestic and foreign investors. Gordhan said a new framework for investment was being finalised by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, and added that this would place investment at the centre of the country’s economic growth plan. “We have a number of incentives in place, which have provided substantial benefits to both foreign and domestic investors. “Moreover, under the guidance of Minister Davies, a new Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill has been released for public comment. This entrenches the rights of all investors, ensuring that property rights are protected, in line with the Constitution.”Making it easier to do business Gordhan said the government had been engaging business on steps it could take to make it easier to do business in the country. “Arising out of that process, we will now streamline regulatory licensing approvals for environmental impact assessments, water licences and mining licences. “As announced by President Jacob Zuma, Parliament is finalising amendments to give effect to this very positive development, which will cut the time it takes to start a mine – from application to final approval – to under 300 days.” Gordhan said there was further work in progress to lower the cost structure of the economy through, for instance, improved efficiencies in freight logistics. “[Communications] Minister Yunus Carrim has published a new policy on broadband, which will in due course lead to modernisation of our communications capabilities,” he said. “Several cities are bringing WiFi connectivity to their environs. [The SA Revenue Service] is taking further steps to lower the cost of tax compliance in South Africa.”Doing business with the rest of Africa Gordhan said that with South African investment into Africa reaching R36-billion a year, and with 29% of South Africa’s exports going to the continent – resulting in 12% of the country’s dividends arising from the continent – it was time to open up trade and investment for non-listed South African companies. “Increasing these inflows will be crucial for closing the current account deficit. Foreign assets owned by South African firms are an important source of income, and reduce our vulnerability to future domestic downturns. “Today, further steps to simplify trade and investment with Africa are announced. The HoldCo regime for African and offshore operations will be extended to unlisted companies, and the limits for listed companies will be increased.” Gordhan said the new regime would create a simplified tax and foreign exchange framework for companies that traded with Africa. “South Africa is an important centre for financial services such as fund and asset management. We propose new ‘Foreign Members Funds’, which will simplify foreign exposure rules. “These funds will support South Africa as a hub for African fund management and provide a domestically regulated channel for investors to obtain foreign exposure.” Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

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TVSync’s Open Platform Weds Social TV & E-Commerce

first_imgTags:#television#web 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… adam popescu 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… Related Posts center_img 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App Social TV has a new player that’s worth watching. Last month, Vobile launched TVSync, an open platform that introduces new broadcast and cable TV streaming options. TVSync could finally do what predecessors dreamed of doing: mesh social media, streamed entertainment and curated content across multiple screens.Big money is at stake. The U.S. media and entertainment industry is expected to spend $3.58 billion in digital ads this year and an estimated $6.19 billion by 2016, according to a September report from the digital marketing and media research site eMarketer.With a slew of companies in the field, including GetGlue, Echo and even Apple, it may be crowded. But none of the players in the space marry both the social and e-commerce sides of the business. This opens the door for TVSync.The month-old TVSync will mesh content, e-commerce and social networks across four screens – desktop, tablet, smartphone, smartTV – all in real time. TVSync could provide instant polling on reality shows and news events and embed live social-media activity in the show feed, or even into the storyline. TVSync does all this through a white-label content-identification system that processesmore than 2 million videos and 8,000 hours of audiovisual content per day, according to Yangbin Wang, CEO of Vobile. That may be enough to service large traditional media companies with major data caches. The company’s pricing is designed to allow large media companies and smaller, upstart broadcasters and individuals to play in the space. (The price is determined by number and density of calls to the application programming interface per month and the size and length of audiovisual files available for matchmaking.) “If you are a startup creating an app with a small installed base, then the cost would only be a fraction of that charged to a large media outlet with thousands of hours of cataloged content and millions of users,” Wang explained.Linking Up ContentWhile rivals GetGlue, Echo and Shazam specialize in curating conversations and enabling content discovery, they haven’t leveraged that activity into sales. This is where TVSync is doing something different. The company has developed a smartphone innovation that makes purchases as easy as pointing and clicking. Wang says consumers will be able to buy a team jersey during a game or merchandise hawked by TV show stars just by pointing their smartphone at the screen and holding the phone like they’re taking a picture. The service recognizes the content automatically, similar to IntoNow.In a little less than a month, there have been more than 300 requests for access to the platform, which is compatible with iOS and Android. To get going, interested developers receive a software development kit that Yang says “includes everything developers need to utitlize the TVSync platform.”  If TVSync can get enough developers and traditional media organizations to adopt their service, build on top of it, and get major advertisers onboard, this new system could potentially become the dominant force in the emerging interactive TV space. Vobile, founded in 2005, has a history in Hollywood, helping the MPAA protect films from piracy. But it’s unclear whether the company will be able to use that background to secure future contracts. Wang says he isn’t betting everything on TV. He wants to provide a new medium for Fortune 500 corporate training and content management. He says an editor using his platform can search for audiovisual content in a large digital library much faster than by searching a conventional content-management system.Media Evolution Or . . . ?Marketers have been clamoring for TV-driven e-commerce since the early days of the Internet. Could TVSync make it happen?“It’s clearly a step in the right direction [for app developers],” said Brian Norgard, the co-founder and chief executive of Chill, a social video discovery site with 19 million registered users and a recent $8 million round of funding.Norgard thinks TVSync could catch on, and cites the open-platform approach as a major reason. He says opening traditional and cable broadcasting television’s historically closed platform could lead to innovation within the medium.“I think what they’re saying is, let’s skip building the consumer app layer and let everyone build on top,” Norgard explained. “The technology they’re providing opens up a lot of possiblites and makes a closed platform less closed.”Brian Steinberg, TV editor for Ad Age, remains unconvinced that social TV has enough of a future to make this kind of service successful longterm. He thinks the field can’t sustain the growing demand for return on investment in ad revenue. In a crowded field, Steinberg says, TVSync will face a challenge in winning over content creators.“Ultimately I think social TV is in a bit of a bubble right now,” Steinberg said. “It’s not quite clear to me that the audience they attract watch the shows and take part of what advertisers want to do.”This year Twitter spent almost $260 million on ads in the U.S., mostly on big television shows and news events, like the Video Music Awards, Grammys, Emmys and the Super Bowl. It hoped to capitalize on content with heavy engagement, like AMC’s Breaking Bad, said Clark Fredricksen, vice president of communications for eMarketer.Fredricksen sees TVSync less as a social platform and more as an e-commerce tool. “The social component seems pretty small,” he said. “What it really sounds like is an open API that allows a publisher or a studio to integrate on their side. Then the TV viewer would integrate on their site.”The digital marketing strategist says the area is hot but crowded. The draw for TVSync could be the e-commerce function.“Marketers are very interested in reaching people from that second screen,” Fredricksen said. “The prospect of adding a commerce component to that already engaging environment is very compelling.”The possibilities are truly limited to what marketers come up with and the deals TVSync can broker. Right now the door is open to the potential for broadcasters, cable companies, publishers and entrepreneurs to synchronize video or audio content with connected TV and second-screen experiences. Stay tuned. last_img read more

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Asiad: Golfers win team silver

first_imgChina turned out to be a happy hunting ground for Delhi boy Rashid Khan once again as he battled nerve wracking moments towards the end to help India win a team silver medal at the scenic Dragon Lake golf club on Saturday.Coming from a modest background, this was indeed a big day for Rashid, who before this had won the Faldo Series Asia twice. Yet, for one who is now at the crossroads and contemplating turning pro, this was a big medal in his career.Rashid (72), alongwith teammates Abhinav Lohan (72), Abhijit Singh Chadha (76) and Rahul Bajaj (72) guided India to finish second in the team event with a total of 10 over 874 score.India’s total was 32 shots short of the gold medal winner South Korean team comprising Meen Whee Kim, Kyoung Hoon Lee, Jaehyeok Lee and Ilhwan Park. Chinese Taipei finished one stroke adrift of India to clinch bronze medal.As if to show that they are a force to reckon with at the Asian Games, South Korea won all the four gold medals up for grabs with big margins. The other teams were left fighting it out for medals of lesser hue on a sunny and pleasant day.South Korean Kim Meen Whee aggregated 16-under 273 to clinch gold in individual category. He was 10 shots ahead of silver medalist Miguel Luis Tabuena (282) of Philippines while the bronze went to Chien Hung Yao (283) of Chinese Taipei.On a day, when each of three counting Indian players played a par round, Rashid was unlucky to miss out on an individual bronze. He finished in a tie for fourth, two shots behind bronze medallist Hung Yao.advertisementFor the record, this was India’s sixth medal in golf in Asian Games history. They had won three medals in New Delhi in 1982, including men’s gold in team and individual.In 2002 at Busan, Shiv Kapur won the men’s gold and in 2006 India won the silver in team.”I am more than happy with the silver medal the Indian team won. The individual medal would have been a bonus, but it’s fine,” said Rashid Khan, who bogeyed on the last hole and yet kept India ahead in the race for a silver medal.”China has always been a good hunting ground for me. I won the Faldo Series Asia tournament twice here and was third once and now this medal. I am happy we managed to keep up the silver medal we won four years ago,” added Rashid.Bajaj, who had his best round of the week, said, “I have been playing way below my potential for last three days. I am glad I was able to do my bit for the team with a par round.”last_img read more

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